What are the Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search engines use crawlers to find websites and index them. These crawlers follow the links and continue to crawl and index the internet all the time creating a database of all the websites called the Index. Google (and other search engines) then also use a search algorithm to decide what website they serve on page one and in what order. Crawls to your site happen depending on various factors, including how much traffic you receive, how often you make updates
Google’s search algorithm uses ‘signals’ to decide what websites come up in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). This page shows the 7 or 10 links to sites which fit the search the best. Nobody knows exactly which factors decide the order of the search results (except for the Google algorithm developers and staff). One of the main factors Google uses to decide on the SERP is the number of links pointing to a page to decide how authoritative that page is, or if it will best meet the searcher’s request. There are many other factors as well.
At times, Google also provides a Universal Search result on the SERP. This is found next to the organic results where news items, pictures, and videos may be found.
What are Other factors impacting SEO are
- On-page factors (quality of the code on the website, the structure of the website URLs, use of text, and other coding factors on the website).
- Keyword research
- Current topics
- Supporting imagery, video, chart, etc.
- Useful, information-rich site with pages that clearly and accurately describe subject
- Do not use too many internal links
- No duplicate content
- Mobile ready
- Site load time
- URL naming with keyword strategy
- Accessible (pages meet ADA recommendations)
- Code – HTML
- Meta titles/tags and Descriptions
- Alt tags for images
- Structured data
- Headers – relevant to keywords
- Keyword density
- XML Sitemap
- No blocked resources
- Off-page factors include links to the website. These are mostly made up of other websites that link to the website (relevant links). Links (both internal and external) can help the ranking. The external links have various value levels, based on the type of website and who that website links to. Google Paid ads are also found on the SERP – these are at the top, right side and possibly at the bottom of the organic results depending on the number of ads for the search key terms.
- Trust Factors
- Linking authority
- Visitors stay on website or is there a high bounce rate
- Domain age
- Site Identity – clearly indicate who is responsible for the website
- Ads on site remove trust
- PageRnak of a page / PageRank or authority of an entire domain
- Are the links from respected websites
- Hypertext for links clearly indicate what to expect
- Number of linking to your website
- No paid linking
- No farm linking
- Social Media
- Are there social media sites associated with the website/company
- Social media shares/likes
- Trust Factors
Why Should I Use a Keyword Strategy?
Keyword Strategy is important for SEO to steer your website to meet Google’s algorithm for the specific keywords that will bring the type of user (hopefully potential clients) to you website. Ways to find what keywords you should use is through keyword research, discovering language your potential clients use when they search and match that with what Google delivers. Search volume for those keywords and trends are also important.
What is Site Structure?
Site Structure refers to the way your site is set up on the front end and back end. The many parts to it include the URL structure, interlinking, menus, and code to help search engine crawlers easily understand what your site is about and what content is most important for your users. The site structure will include your keyword strategy, helping the crawlers put everything together.
Summary of technical SEO Tips
You can use your Google tools (and other tools) to check that your site is being crawled properly. Other main factors in SEO is avoiding duplicate content, telling Google was the canonical link it should display (using the ‘www’ or not using the ‘www’ in the URL, and site speed.
User Experience Best Practices
It is important the websites are not just created for Google. Actual people will be using them. This is referred to as the “User Experience”. You do not want a user to land on your page and hit the back button immediately. Helping a user stay on your site includes making it clear for the user what they can do next when they land on a page, keep clutter-free, use a content-focused design, call-to-action to help the user go to the next page, and make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
Is a Content Strategy Important?
Using the above information as well is considering how you add real value to your industry, in particular, for your potential clients and current clients, you will be able to determine a valid content strategy.
You may be interested in having a review of how your website’s SEO measures up. Go here to order your SEO Website Review.